SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

FM vows to revisit transaction tax
BJP says Budget inflationary, Left for FDI cap rollbacks
P ChidambaramNew Delhi, July 19
The government today ruled out total withdrawal of transaction tax, but assured that it would “revisit” the issue on the quantum of tax, while the Left parties continued to demand the government to roll back the hike in the FDI cap in telecom.

Kamalnath US curbs on BPO worry Nath
New Delhi, July 19
The government today informed the Rajya Sabha that the business process outsourcing (BPO) business in the country was expected to touch $ 3.6 billion in value terms during 2004, despite the curbs by the USA.

Patel for A-I, IA capital base expansion
Praful Patel New Delhi, July 19
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel today met Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and discussed the aircraft acquisition plans for the two national carriers besides seeking to expand the capital base of the two airliners.

TCS IPO at Rs 775-900 price band
Mumbai, July 19
Software major Tata Consultancy Services, which filed an Initial Public Offer (IPO) prospectus with Registrar of Companies today, has fixed its price band for the bidding between Rs 775-900 per share.

Strike has exporters on tenterhooks
New Delhi, July 19
The strike of the cargo-clearing agents at the Delhi airport, which entered its fourth day today, has severely hit the exports of readymade garments from the region, besides other exports and imports.

EPFO Board meeting today
New Delhi, July 19
In an renewed effort to evolve consensus, the EPFO Board is meeting here tomorrow for the third time to decide on the rate of interest to be offered to its three crore subscribers this year, even as trade unions have demanded higher returns.


Noted danseuse Sonal Mansingh addresses a seminar on "Arts and Business"
Noted danseuse Sonal Mansingh addresses a seminar on "Arts and Business" organised by the ladies wing of FICCI in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI



EARLIER STORIES

 

Airtel rings in ‘Hello Tunes’
Bharti Tele-Ventures Group CMO and Director Atul Bindal with Jonathan Kim, Vice-President, WiderThan.com
New Delhi, July 19
Airtel today launched the ring back tone service, which enables the caller to hear songs and other sound clips instead of the traditional switchboard ringtone, and said this value added service will be the next major revenue earner after SMS.

COAI seeks phasing out of ADC

Bharti Tele-Ventures Group CMO
and Director (Mobility) Atul Bindal with Jonathan Kim, Vice-President (Global Marketing), WiderThan.com, at the launch of ‘Hello Tunes’ in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI photo


Director of Philips Semiconductors, India, Mr R. V. Sheshan, with company’s Vice-President
Director of Philips Semiconductors, India, Mr R. V. Sheshan, with company’s Vice-President (Global Automotive Marketing & Sales), Mr Drue S. Freeman, launch the new ‘analog radio chip’ in New Delhi on Monday. Philips India hoped the sales of its five divisions would grow between 18 and 20 per cent, enabling the company to post over 38 per cent rise. — PTI

CORPORATE NEWS
HDFC reports higher profits
Mumbai, July 19
HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd.) has reported higher profits for the quarter ended June 30, 2004. According to a statement put out by the company, HDFC’s profit after tax amounting to Rs. 204.62 crore as compared to Rs. 167.76 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous year — an increase of 22 per cent.

Apollo Tyres
IPCL
Finolex
ITC Hotels

Graphics
:
Per Capita Power Consumption During 2002-03, Statewise
Jewellery Exports

Video
Sarojni and Lajpat Nagar markets are fast catching up with the youngsters.
(28k, 56k)

Top









 

FM vows to revisit transaction tax
BJP says Budget inflationary, Left for FDI cap rollbacks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
The government today ruled out total withdrawal of transaction tax, but assured that it would “revisit” the issue on the quantum of tax, while the Left parties continued to demand the government to roll back the hike in the FDI cap in telecom, insurance and civil aviation sectors.

“I have already said we will revisit the numbers. But transaction tax is neat and easy and eliminates tax avoidance,” Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said in his brief intervention during the Budget discussion in the Rajya Sabha.

He said market capitalisation of shares traded amounted to Rs 300,000 crore which meant there should be a tax collection of at least Rs 25,000 crore annually in securities transactions but the short-term capital gains tax mop-up did not reflect this. Initiating the discussion on Budget proposals for 2004-05 in the Rajya Sabha, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said the UPA government’s first Budget would fuel inflation, harden interest rates and widen fiscal deficit by at least 1 per cent of GDP.

Maintaining that the Budget was “tall on promises but short on substance,” he charged the government with fudging figures and indulging in a “lot of tokenism.”

“My biggest worry is on the inflation front. Inflation has already shot up to 6.16 per cent and this will put pressure on interest rates,” he said.

Mr Sinha quoted the Economic Survey to suggest that the economy was resilient and provided macro-economic stability. This gave Mr Chidambaram enough elbow room as he inherited a strong economy because of measures taken by the previous NDA government, he said.

In a point-by-point rebuttal, Mr Sinha countered Mr Chidambaram’s assertion that the economy was on the downslide during the past five years and quoted statistics to say that the NDA government had, in fact, arrested and reversed the fall in public expenditure on agriculture.

Pooh-poohing Mr Chidambaram’s claim that he would double agriculture credit in the next three years, Mr Sinha said, “We had, in fact, done it in four years during the NDA rule”.

Mr Sinha said he was a little intrigued by the proposal to have a national mission for horticulture and wondered in what way was it different from the technology mission launched by the NDA government for horticulture and floriculture which had helped significantly in the development.

Mr Sinha regretted that no allocation had been made for calamity relief and wondered how the government would provide relief to people affected by floods and drought.

Participating in the discussion on the Budget, CPM member Nilotpal Basu said although the party was committed to the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) as an ally of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), it would nevertheless like the Finance Minister to take into consideration its concerns about FDI and several other issues.

“There is need for revisiting some basic areas of finance and economy....We hope the Finance Minister will take into consideration these concerns....Then there is a problem of honouring the verdict of the people that has given rise to this Budget,” he said.

On the foreign direct investment (FDI) issue, he said the mandate given to the UPA was for an investment-driven economy.

“Whatever is in the CMP, we are bound by it. We will support that. But what is beyond agreement, why should we support that?...Caps do not determine investment flows....Will increasing FDI help in the CMP? For us CMP is the Bible,” he said while calling for plugging the loopholes in investment in the telecom sector.

Highlighting the “volatility of the market,’’ Mr Basu said the increase in the limit of the FII would not help. He stressed the need for revisiting this whole question for political, economic and security concerns.
Top

 

US curbs on BPO worry Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
The government today informed the Rajya Sabha that the business process outsourcing (BPO) business in the country was expected to touch $ 3.6 billion in value terms during 2004, despite the curbs by the USA.

Expressing concern over the moves of the USA and provincial governments on imposing curbs on BPO, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath told the House during question hour that despite the moves towards such restrictions, the BPO business to India was growing at a rate of 40 per cent to 50 per cent annually.

The minister said the government had taken up this issue with United States Trade Representative and US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

He said US President George Bush and Chief of Federal Treasury had also expressed concern over the rising outsourcing to India.

He said as much as 70 per cent of India’s BPO business came from the USA and only 2 per cent of the business relating to US government contracts was affected due to a legislation approved in the US Congress.

He said 60 Bills imposing restrictions on BPO operations were pending before the US Congress and there were about 297 Bills before various federal governments in the USA. He informed the House that 11 Bills had been converted into law in different federal governments in the USA and said the government was seriously concerned about the trend.
Top

 

Patel for A-I, IA capital base expansion
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel today met Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and discussed the aircraft acquisition plans for the two national carriers besides seeking to expand the capital base of the two airliners.

After a half-an-hour meeting with Mr Ahluwalia, the minister said, “There was a meeting about the broad issues concerning the Civil Aviation Ministry during which the problem of under-capitalisation of the Indian Airlines and Air-India came up for discussion”.

On the Kelkar Committee recommendation for infusion of Rs 325 crore for the Indian Airlines to raise its equity base, the minister said the issue was also discussed and he didn’t mind linking of these funds to the fleet acquisition plans of the national carrier.

Both IA and AI were constituted in 1953 with a capital base of Rs 100 crore. An additional Rs 5 crore and Rs 2.14 crore were added to the capital base of these airlines following the merger of Vayudoot with the domestic carrier.

The minister said the process of acquisition of planes will begin within a few months. It will take three to four years for them to become operational. “Therefore, leasing of aircraft will have to take place as it is only a short-term solution available for meeting the demands of the airlines”.

To a question about the taxes proposed by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the budget, Mr Patel said he would meet Mr Chidambaram to sort out the issue. “We will request the Finance Minister to reconsider the withdrawal of tax exemption on leasing of aircraft as it would be a big setback, especially for Air-India and the Indian Airlines,” he said.

Presenting the Budget, Mr Chidambaram withdrew tax exemption granted to Indian companies to acquire aircraft or aircraft engines on lease from foreign firms, prospectively from September this year, saying it had “outlived its utility”.

Among the other issues discussed at the meeting, Mr Patel said restructuring and modernisation of other airports other than the metro was also discussed. “We will give a presentation to the Planning Commission soon,” he said.
Top

 

TCS IPO at Rs 775-900 price band

Mumbai, July 19
Software major Tata Consultancy Services, which filed an Initial Public Offer (IPO) prospectus with Registrar of Companies today, has fixed its price band for the bidding between Rs 775-900 per share.

The issue will open on July 29, 2004, and close on August 5, merchant banking sources told PTI here today.

TCS vice-president (Corporate Communication) Atul Takle said: “We have filed with Registrar of Companies... and the price band for IPO is Rs 775 to Rs 900.” The price band for the IPO, which is through a book- building process, is below the market expectations, analysts said, adding the market was expecting the band to be in the range of Rs 900-1,000 per share.

The Tata group company is to offer 5.54 crore equity shares of Re 1 each, with a green shoe option.

The issue consists of a fresh issue of 2.27 crore shares and an offer-for-sale of 3.26 crore by Tata Sons Ltd and certain other shareholders of TCS. — PTI
Top

 

Strike has exporters on tenterhooks
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
The strike of the cargo-clearing agents at the Delhi airport, which entered its fourth day today, has severely hit the exports of readymade garments from the region, besides other exports and imports.

The garment exporters have claimed that about 1,000 tonnes of shipments, worth over Rs 400 crore, have been held up at the airport. They claimed that the deadlock between the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and cargo-clearing agents have hit around 3,000 exporters of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Panipat, Noida, Moradabad and Jaipur. The strike has also hit the leather, auto component and other exports.

Mr H.K.L. Magu, president, Garment Exporters Association, disclosed that the strike had adversely affected the exports and imports from the USA and European countries resulting in financial losses worth crores. “Some of the buyers and sellers have even cancelled the orders due to delay in shipments. If the government fails to break the deadlock, exports would lose substantial business, besides orders for the next year,” he said adding that by the first week of August, the buyers would begin to import winter garments. “Then who would accept consignments of summer garments,” he said.

The representatives of the cargo-clearing agents claimed they had resorted to strike against the AAI’s failure to improve infrastructure at the airport over the years despite substantial increase in cargo business. “During the past one decade, the cargo volume has increased by over 20 tines, but it has neither increased the manpower nor the X-ray machines for cargo handling,” said a leading cargo agent at the airport.

Insiders in the cargo business said unlike airports in other countries, the AAI charged about Rs 1.50 per kg for X-ray of the cargo. Since there are only four machines at the airport, the customers have to wait for 4-6 hours to for X-ray. Further, they said, the cargo agents were asked to provide manpower for this work.

The officials at the airport claimed that a meeting of cargo-handling agents and the AAI management was also held today without any result.

Exporters also claimed that the agitation of cargo-handling agents at Chennai airport and heavy rains at Nav Siva port in Mumbai have badly affected their business. Over 11,000 containers have been held up in Nav Siva due to heavy rains and slow movement of shipments.
Top

 

EPFO Board meeting today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
In an renewed effort to evolve consensus, the EPFO Board is meeting here tomorrow for the third time to decide on the rate of interest to be offered to its three crore subscribers this year, even as trade unions have demanded higher returns.

During the last two meetings of EPFO Board comprising employers, employees and government officials (both state and Centre) a consensus could not be arrived at due to the ongoing differences between the EPFO’s offer of 8 per cent interest rate and trade unions’ demand for 12 per cent.
Top

 

Airtel rings in ‘Hello Tunes’

New Delhi, July 19
Airtel today launched the ring back tone service, which enables the caller to hear songs and other sound clips instead of the traditional switchboard ringtone, and said this value added service will be the next major revenue earner for the brand after SMS.

“Mobile music will be a key driver for future services in 2G, 2.5G and 3G networks,” Bharti Tele-Ventures Group CMO and Director (Mobility) Atul Bindal told newspersons here.

Airtel is the first service provider in the country to offer the service, which will be marketed as “Hello Tunes.” It will be initially available in Delhi and Bangalore.

Airtel has launched the service in association with Bharti Telesoft and Korea-based WiderThan.com, an affiliate of S K Telecom. It is available to both pre-paid and post-paid customers at a monthly rental of Rs 30. — UNI

COAI seeks phasing out of ADC

Cellular operators have called for phasing out the Access Deficit Charge (ADC) regime by March 2007 and opposed any payment to BSNL, saying the public sector giant does not have any deficit in rural fixed access business. ADC is paid by private operators to compensate BSNL for providing subsidised services in rural areas.

Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said BSNL made a surplus of over Rs 1,400 crore last fiscal and financial data does not show deficit in rural fixed access business after accounting separation of BSNL accounts into licensed service categories.
Top

 

CORPORATE NEWS
HDFC reports higher profits

Mumbai, July 19
HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd.) has reported higher profits for the quarter ended June 30, 2004. According to a statement put out by the company, HDFC’s profit after tax amounting to Rs. 204.62 crore as compared to Rs. 167.76 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous year — an increase of 22 per cent. This is after providing Rs. 43.07 crore for tax (corresponding quarter of previous year Rs. 37.44 crore).

Apollo Tyres

The Rs 2,300 crore Apollo Tyres Ltd (ATL) today said the net profit in the first quarter ended June 30 fell 16.5 per cent to Rs 15.6 crore from Rs 18.7 crore a year ago. However, its total income in the April June quarter of the current fiscal rose to Rs 500 crore from Rs 449 crore a year earlier.

IPCL

Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd (IPCL), a Reliance group entity, today reported a whopping 215.3 per cent rise in net profit for the first quarter ended June 30, 2004 at Rs 123 crore as against Rs 39 crore in the Q1 of the previous fiscal.

Finolex

Finolex Industries Ltd [FIL], the flagship of the Rs 2,500-crore Finolex group has posted an impressive performance for the quarter-ended June 2004 with a sharp jump in net profit at Rs 27.33-crore compared to Rs 11.56-crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.

ITC Hotels

ITC Hotels Ltd has recorded an increase in net profit to Rs 6.9-crore for the first quarter-ended June 2004 as against Rs 59-lakh recorded in the corresponding period last year, an increase of over 10 times. — TNS & Agencies
Top

 


Per Capita Power Consumption During 2002-03, Statewise
Top

 


Jewellery Exports
Top

  bb
BRIEFLY

BSNL’s service
Kumbakonam, July 19
The public sector telecom giant BSNL has come forward to provide free phone service to enable the public disseminate information about the victims and those injured in the fire accident at a private school in this town, which claimed 90 lives. On the whole, BSNL has installed 21 phone lines for the free service at the hospital premises in front of the ill-fated school. — UNI

Underwriters Lab
Bangalore, July 19
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the US-based product safety testing and certification company, today announced it would be expanding operations in India and double staff from the current level of 100 to 200 over the next two years. The company was also working towards establishing world-class lab capabilities in the country to provide safety testing services for the entire Asian region, UL International President and Managing Director (Asia-Pacific) Sajeev Jesudas told a press conference here. — UNI

UCO Bank
Kolkata, July 19
UCO Bank today announced downward revision of interest rates on FCNR (B) deposits. For deposits held in US Dollars, the interest rates have been reduced from 2.18 per cent, 3.02 per cent and 3.57 per cent to 2.06 per cent, 2.79 per cent and 3.27 per cent, respectively, for the period of one year to less than two years, two years to less than three years and three years, respectively. — UNI

Bank of India
Mumbai, July 19
Bank of India (BoI) has set aside a sum of Rs 15-crore as a part of the equity capital of the asset reconstruction company (ARC) promoted by a special undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (UTI). The bank’s board in its recent meeting approved the investment amount of Rs 15-crore as a part of its equity contribution of 13.64 per cent in the proposed ARC. — UNI

e-banking
Amritsar, July 19
The main branch of the Union Bank of India today launched online banking which enable 300 branches of the bank throughout the country to be connected. The chairman of Amritsar Swadeshi Group of Companies, Mr S.K. Khanna, while inaugurating the e-banking service said it would help the customers assess their accounts on the Internet. — OC

Syndicate Bank
Mumbai, July 19
Syndicate Bank has informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that the board of directors of the bank at their meeting today has decided to raise subordinate debt of Rs 200-crore which includes a green shoe option of Rs 50-crore under Tier II bonds. — UNI

Silver shines
Mumbai, July 19
Values of silver today opened higher by Rs 20 from it’s last finish and quoted at Rs 10,735 per kg on some shortage of ready stocks and firm global advice while gold remained steady at Rs 6,195 per 10 gm on moderate demand, traders at the Bombay Bullion Association said here. — UNI

Dollar rate
Mumbai, July 19
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today fixed the reference rate for US dollar at Rs 45.95 per dollar, 22 paise lower than last Friday’s fix of Rs 46.17, an RBI spokesperson said. — UNI
Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |